June 6, 2019 / 11:22 AM / 2 months ago

Brexit prompts Norway to reassess planned power cable to Britain

OSLO, June 6 (Reuters) - Uncertainties over Britain’s departure from the EU have prompted Norway to ask its power regulator to further assess the viability of a planned subsea power cable between the country and Britain.

The privately-owned NorthConnect cable already faces political opposition in Norway, where its construction is at risk of being cancelled after governing parties last year proposed that new interconnectors to other countries should be state-owned.

“The fact that the future relationship between the UK and the European Union remains unresolved contributes to the uncertainty in the matter being addressed,” the oil and energy ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Norway’s grid operator Statnett had earlier raised Brexit as an additional concern because of possible new arrangements and tariffs.

Thursday’s statement did not immediately suggest that the project would be cancelled

The ministry has asked regulator NVE, Norway’s water resources and energy directorate, to update its assessment of the cable using assumptions from its 2019’s power market analysis, which is yet to be completed.

The regulator’s overall assessment will provide a comprehensive description of uncertainties related to the cable, including the potential impact on socio-economic profitability, the ministry added.

NorthConnect is co-owned by Swedish utility Vattenfall and Norwegian power firms E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse.

Before last year’s proposals on state-ownership, the backers had hoped to be operating the planned 2-billion-euro cable between Norway and Scotland by 2023.

Statnett is already building two 1.4 (GW) subsea cables of its own to Germany and Britain, which are due to start operating in 2020 and 2021 respectively. (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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